TIle largest preindustrial city was Rome; hy 100 C.E. it may have had a population of 650,000 (Chandler and Fox, 1974). With the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 C.E., the nature of European cities changed. Seeking protection and survival, those persons who lived ill urban settings typically did so in walled cities containing no more than 25.000 people. For the next 600 years. the urban population continued to live in walled enclaves. as competing warlords battled for power and territory during the “dark ages.” Slowly. as trade increased, cities began to tear down their walls. Preindustrial cities were limited in siz> by a number of factors. For one thing. crowded housing conditions and a lack of adequate sewage facilities increased the
hazards from plagues and fir s. and death rates were high. For another. food supplies were limited. In order to generate food for each city resident; at least fifty
farm as had to work in the field (Davis, 1949). and animal power was the only means ofhringing food to the city. Once foodstuffs arrived in the city. there was no effective way to preserve them. Finally. migration to the city was difficult. Many people were in serf. slave. and caste systems whereby they were bound to the land. Those able to escape: such restrictions still faced several weeks oftrave1 to reach the city. thus making itphysically and financially impossible for many people to become ity dwellers, In spite of these problems. many preindustrial cities had a sense of commullity-a set of social relationships operating within given spatial boundaries or locations that provides people with a sense of identity and a feeling of’belonging. The cities were full ofpeople from all walks of life. both rich and poor. and they felt a high degree of social integration. You will recall that Ferdinand Tennies (194011887)’ described such a communit)’ as Gemeiuschaft=s. society in which social relationships arc based on personal bonds of iriendship and kinship and on intergenerational stability, suchthat people have a commitment to the entire group and fed a sense of togetherness. By contrast. industrial cities were characterized by as exhibiting impersonal and specialized relationships, with little long-term commitment to the group or consensus on values (see Chapter 5). In societies. even neighbors are “strangers” who perceive that they have little common with one another.